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Capital Punishment, 2017: Selected Findings

NCJ Number
Date Published
July 2019
5 pages
Tracy L. Snell
Publication Series
Selected findings from the Bureau of Justice Statistics' annual data collection on capital punishment include the number of prisoners executed each year in the United States from 1977 through 2017, the number and race of prisoners with a death sentence at year-end 2017 by state, and the average time from sentence to execution each year from 1977 through 2017.
At year-end 2017, 32 states and the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) held 2,703 prisoners with a death sentence, which was 94 (3 percent) less than at year-end 2016. This was the 17th consecutive year of decline in the number of prisoners with a death sentence. At year-end 2017, 18 states held fewer prisoners with a death sentence than at year-end 2016; 3 states and the BOP held more prisoners with a death sentence; and 11 states held the same number with a death sentence. Three states accounted for 59 percent of the national decline in the number of prisoners with a death sentence in 2017: Florida (down 33 prisoners); Delaware (down 12 prisoners); and Texas (down 10 prisoners). Thirty-four states and the federal government authorized the death penalty at year-end 2017; two of these states (New York and Wyoming) had no prisoners with a death sentence during 2017. Prisoners executed in 2017 averaged 20 years and 3 months between sentencing and execution. This was an increase of 3 years and 3 months from 2016 and an increase of 7 years and 6 months from 2007. Of the 23 prisoners executed in 2017, 16 had been sentenced in 1999 or earlier. Data sources are described. 3 tables and 1 figure

Date Created: July 23, 2019